Why does my top load washer smell?

Answered by Phillip Nicastro

There are several reasons why your top load washer may develop a smell. One of the main culprits is leaving the washer lid closed when it is not in use. This creates a damp environment inside the washer where moisture can accumulate and become stagnant, leading to unpleasant odors.

When the washer is in use, it generates a combination of moisture and air as it agitates and spins the clothes. This mixture needs to be able to circulate and dry out properly to prevent any lingering moisture. However, if the lid is kept closed after a wash cycle, the moisture gets trapped inside, creating a perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew.

Mold and mildew thrive in damp environments, and the warm, dark interior of a closed washer provides the ideal conditions for them to grow. These fungi release spores into the air, which can contribute to the musty smell that often accompanies washer odors. Additionally, the moisture can also cause the rubber seals and gaskets in the washer to deteriorate over time, further exacerbating the problem.

Another factor that can contribute to a smelly washer is using too much detergent or using the wrong type of detergent. Excessive detergent can leave behind residue, which can promote the growth of mold and mildew. Similarly, using a detergent that is not suitable for your specific washer can also lead to buildup and odors. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding detergent usage and choose a detergent that is compatible with your washer.

In addition to these factors, hard water can also play a role in causing odors in your washer. Hard water contains minerals that can build up in the nooks and crannies of the washer, creating a breeding ground for bacteria and contributing to unpleasant smells. Using a water softener or descaling agent periodically can help prevent this buildup and keep your washer smelling fresh.

To prevent or eliminate odors in your top load washer, there are several steps you can take:

1. Keep the lid open when the washer is not in use to allow air to circulate and dry out the interior. This will help prevent moisture buildup and discourage the growth of mold and mildew.

2. Clean the washer regularly to remove any residue, mold, or mildew that may be causing the odor. You can do this by running a cycle with hot water and a cup of white vinegar or a specialized washer cleaner. Wipe down the interior surfaces, including the rubber seals, with a mixture of vinegar and water or mild soap.

3. Check and clean the detergent dispenser and any filters or drain hoses regularly. These areas can accumulate detergent residue and debris, which can contribute to odors. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and maintenance.

4. Use the appropriate amount and type of detergent for your washer. Avoid using excessive amounts of detergent, as this can lead to residue buildup. Choose a detergent that is recommended for your specific washer and water type.

5. Consider using a washing machine deodorizer or odor absorber to help eliminate any lingering odors. These products can be placed in the washer during a cycle to help freshen it up.

The smell in your top load washer is likely caused by leaving the lid closed when the washer is not in use, allowing moisture to accumulate and create a stagnant environment. This, combined with factors such as excessive detergent usage, using the wrong detergent, and hard water, can contribute to unpleasant odors. By following the steps outlined above, you can prevent or eliminate these odors and keep your washer smelling fresh.